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Osibanjo tasks senior advocates on discipline

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo

The vice president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has charged senior lawyers to adopt self-regulation mechanism in order to tackle recurring professional misconduct among members.

The vice president said when that is done, the profession and the administration of justice system would survive the assault occasioned by all manner of misconduct prevalent in the system.

Osibanjo, in his remark at the maiden annual dinner of the Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (BOSAN) at the weekend in Lagos, said creating and maintaining efficient disciplinary structures and rules amongst lawyers seem to be a huge challenge as self-regulation is non-existent.

“There is no forum for calling out a bad egg. There is a need for a consensus on how to ensure that the greatest deed that we have received, deed which is of a respected profession is not destroyed in our own time. It is a consensus that would be built only on sacrifice. Sacrifice in ethnic and other parochial loyalties, where our profession is threatened and making a system of discipline that truly neither fears friends nor folks.

“One is not advocating some mere moral reawakening because almost all of us have taken advantage in one way or the other from a system where there is no consequence for misbehaviour.

It is our duty as professionals especially those of us of the inner bar to ensure that our profession and the administration of justice system survives the assault of it by all manner of misconduct,” he stated.

According to him, the legal profession in Nigeria and the system of administration of justice is perhaps one of the oldest of the professions. “It has created reputation, dynasty, enormous wealth and modest livelihood for generations, but its integrity, credibility and relevance are gravely threatened and have been so for so many years.

“It appears that those of us who are senior lawyers perpetrate some of the greatest acts of malfeasance,” he charged and congratulated the new silks and wished them much greater success in the years to come.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who was represented by Justice John Inyang Okoro commended BOSAN for its recent defence of judges as they have stood as the sole voice of the law in Nigeria.

He added that lawyers should return to fundamentals and make positive contributions to Nigeria’s development by ensuring that justice is appropriately served at all times.

“The same code of conduct that binds the judge, apply to the senior advocates, hence there should be induction of persons selected to be senior advocates,” he advised.

He said SAN should not use delay tactics to slow down justice and advised SANs to be fair in their conducts.

Former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, said leadership is an influence of relationship between leaders and followers hence both leaders and followers should pursue the same goal.

He added that there should be effective communication between leaders and followers, stressing, “communicating effectively does not necessarily mean talking to people effectively but listening to people effectively”.

According to Folake Solanke, the first female SAN, senior advocates should have positive influence on younger lawyers. It is an aberration, she said, for a lawyer to be rude to a judge. She advised young lawyers to always address judges as ‘my lord’ as a mark of professionalism.

She however added that there must be mutual respect between judges and lawyers.

Vice chairman, BOSAN dinner organizing committee, Paul Usoro said the principal reason for the maiden diner was to welcome new SANs into their fold.



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